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New Products for True Coffee Lovers : Two Improvements Preserve That Just-Roasted Flavor

October 02, 1986|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Although roasting brings out the flavor of coffee beans, it's a fact that this same flavor begins to diminish as soon as the roasting process is completed. Two recent innovations combat this loss of flavor in roasted beans.

Sirocco Gourmet Coffee System Inc. has introduced a home-size automatic coffee bean roaster, imported from West Germany, along with a line of unroasted coffee beans. Four ounces of the green beans can be roasted at a time, a small enough amount to be used within three to four days, the time recommended by the manufacturer for optimum flavor.

The machine medium roasts beans in five to six minutes; darker and espresso roasts take slightly longer. A glass chamber permits the beans to be observed during roasting. The unit features an automatic cooling cycle to cool the beans at the end of the roasting cycle. It also has a paper filter to collect the chaff released during the roasting process.

A one-time use of the machine yielded promising, if not outstanding, coffee. It was obvious that good results could be achieved with more roasting and grinding experimentation. The unit sells for about $150.

Several companies are marketing roasted beans in an ingenious packaging device called the valve pack. The one-way valve allows carbon dioxide to escape, but prevents oxygen from entering the package and thus retains freshness.

When coffee is roasted, it releases carbon dioxide. If packaged immediately after roasting, the escaping gas would cause the package to explode. In the past, coffee had to be cooled before packaging, exposing it to oxygen and causing loss of quality.

The valve pack allows coffee to be packaged immediately after roasting. The manufacturers claim that unopened, it will keep beans fresh and flavorful for up to a year.

The Sirocco Coffee Roaster is available at Williams-Sonoma stores throughout Southern California and at Bristol Farms in South Pasadena. Valve-pack coffee beans are available at Williams-Sonoma.

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